The game called Ring Around the Rosie has a mixed and long history. There are reports of one version appearing as early as the 1300s, other versions came into popular use in the 17 and 1800s. Today, young children still link hands, walk in a circle, and sing the lyrics.
Some believe the “ring around the Rosie” refers to the sores that appeared on plague victims’ skin—the “pocket full of posies” to either the practice of putting flowers inside doctors’ masks to protect them while they treated patients with plague, or gravesite tributes. The repeated “Ashes. Ashes.” was supposed to mimic the sound of sneezing while “We all fall down…” Well, if the game did refer to the Black Death, it’s obvious what that sentence meant.
I’d rather just think of it as a fun game that happens to begin with today’s stellar letter R.
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